Adverse effects of meditation: a preliminary investigation of long-term meditators

Int J Psychosom. 1992;39(1-4):62-7.


Adverse effects of meditation were assessed in twenty-seven long term meditators (average 4.27 years) both retrospectively (time one) and prospectively at one month (time two) and six months (time three) following a meditation retreat. At both time one and time three subjects reported significantly more positive effects than negative from meditation. However, of the twenty-seven subjects, seventeen (62.9%) reported at least one adverse effect, and two (7.4%) suffered profound adverse effects. When subjects at time one were divided into three groups based on length of practice (16.7 months; 47.1 months; 105 months) there were no significant differences in adverse effects. How the data should be interpreted, and their implications both for the clinical and psychotherapeutic use of meditation as a relaxation/self-control strategy, and as a technique for facilitating personal and spiritual growth, are discussed. Limitations of the study and suggestions for future research are also offered.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Affective Symptoms / psychology*
  • Arousal
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Relaxation Therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology*